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Old 01-25-2008, 08:55 PM
 
2 posts, read 21,402 times
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Default Thoughts on Milton - the town, schools, commuting

Hi,

My husband has been offered a position in Waltham. We currently live in Toronto, Ontario and are considering moving to Milton because our two children are currently enrolled in the French Immersion program here. We also know about the program in Holliston but since they can't confirm acceptance of our children to the program and since it is more rural, we are leaning towards Milton.

What is Milton like as a city to live in? How long is the commute from Milton to Waltham? Could my husband take the train rather than driving?

Since we would need to live in Milton in order for our children to attend school there, we would then need to find a house there. It has been suggested that we rent when we first arrive and then look to buy a house. Can anyone direct me on where to find a house to rent in Milton. We could also get a 3 bedroom appt but it would need to be in Milton and so far I have had no luck finding anything. An idea of rental costs would also be useful.

We will be flying in for a visit in a month but any advice you can offer in the meantime would be appreciated!
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:04 PM
 
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craigslist | apartments
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:49 PM
 
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My parents (separated) live in Milton. Rentals are not the norm there, and apartments are largely non existent. The town is primarily single family houses and they are not cheap. The median price was 481k last I checked. There are many nice houses though. There is a somewhat rural feel to some parts (close to both the blue hills reservation and the Neponset river) and lots of nice parks. Contributes to the high price. There are no "bad" parts but some of it does border Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a dicey reputation. Personally I think it's pretty safe. There may be rentals there.

There are very few chain stores, a couple of nice "town center" style business districts, Milton Village which borders the Lower Mills section of Dorchester (part of Boston) and East Milton Sq, of I-93, near Quincy. The town is small so even though services are limited you can usually find what you need with a quick drive to Quincy or Dorchester. Public Transit is not that good. There is no direct connection to Waltham, you'd have to catch the redline in Quincy and transfer downtown. I imagine it'd be a long ride. Driving is no fun either, Route 128 (i95) will be a nightmare normal commuting hours. It may save time to short cut through Boston. Rte 28, to Rte 203 up Jamaica Way can get you part of the way, from there I don't know.

Personally, I think the town has a drinking problem, especially amongst teens.

It doesn't sound like the greatest fit, but if you really need to be there, it's at least pretty and close to Boston.
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Old 01-26-2008, 12:29 AM
 
Location: northeast US
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If your children speak English as a second language you might get them in an ESL program in another town, especially if you're only staying a year or two. Just a thought.

It wasn't clear in your question what their primary language is, or are they already in Milton because of living with another parent, etc.
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Old 01-26-2008, 09:47 AM
 
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The Milton to Waltham commute is not very easy- there is no direct route.

Holliston is not any closer, but being in a more rural area might actually be better in the long run. There is alot of shopping in Natick which is close and property prices in Holliston are ALOT more affordable.

Milton is a great town, but is surrounding by alot of very undesirable neighborhoods and areas. I would rule it out just because of that. Unless you have a enormous budget and don't mind living in an area that is smack in the middle of more run down areas, then you should really start looking into Holliston. It's a cute town- lots of farmland around and very quaint downtown center.

Unless of course you decide to ditch the immersion program- then you'll have many other options.

Good luck
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Old 01-26-2008, 09:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY'er lost in MA View Post
Milton is a great town, but is surrounding by alot of very undesirable neighborhoods and areas. I would rule it out just because of that.
sorry but that's just inane. So many people are clueless about what a bad area is, they hear "Mattapan" and think the second you cross over the Neponset river you are going to be dodging bullets. No part of Milton is bad. The section of Mattapan it borders is not bad, nor is the section of Dorchester. If crime does cross the border it's probably for a specific reason, aka criminal on criminal type stuff aka not likely to involve a bystander. Aside from that, with all the racial profiling the Milton police do, it's not like a gangster can easily slip through the cracks.

Milton's issue with drinking is far more pressing a problem that crime from Boston. The town is something like 43% Irish, higher than anywhere in the US. Heh. That and the insane cost of housing and the nightmarish commute to Waltham.
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:56 AM
 
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I have a very good friend that lives in Milton- I've been to his home and driven throughout that area MANY, MANY times. I also lived in Dorchester for 2 years during college.

I didn't mention crime in my post, but since you brought it up, Mattapan and Dorchester aren't exactly known for being squeaky clean. Stabbings and shootings seem to be all too frequent and don't forget Roxbury. What I was trying to convey is that you have this great town but it is very close to areas that I would personally describe as undesirable.

And don't forget that the part of Hyde Park the touches Milton is very industrial and just plain run down.

Living in Milton you have to either commute through some of those areas, or avoid them. Sure- to the south there are nicer areas, but for me- I would not feel comfortable as children get into the teen years with the proximity to those areas.

That's just me.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:47 AM
 
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well that's fine but then you better stay far out into the hinterlands if you want to raise kids with that perspective. All cities have crime. Good neighborhoods abut sketchy ones all over the country. I'm aware that Mattapan and Dorchester aren't exactly model neighborhoods, but the fact that they are close to Milton has little to almost no effect on the town. Crime is not going to hop over the border to find you. With teenagers your biggest problem will be THEM going over there to find trouble. That probably says more about your parenting than anything else. Granted there are sections of Boston I wouldn't want to live next to, including sections of Mattapan and Dorchester. but those neighborhoods are huge and the sections that border Milton are not bad. Then you bring up Roxbury?!? That's nowhere near Milton. Brookline is closer. Are you going to tell people that Brookline is a bad place to raise kids? As to Hyde Park, yea that's a real problem spot. Industrial stuff!! Shudder!! One wonders how Mayor Menino makes it to work every day in one piece when he has to drive through that hell hole!

As to commuting through those areas, stay on the main arteries, during the day or rush hour. What's going to happen? I got a flat tire on route 203 once. What happened? A random guy stopped to help me fix it. A black guy no less!

I'm sorry but your fears of the "ghetto" in MILTON is just beyond absurd. You have a much better chance of being creamed by a drunk driver. In fact there is a much better chance YOUR KID will kill himself behind the wheel, inebriated.
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Old 01-27-2008, 11:01 AM
 
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Thanks for all the input so far. I must admit that I am a bit concerned about moving to Milton. I have heard about the not-so-great parts and drinking before so you are reiterating a lot of what I have already heard. We will be visiting in February and will take a very close look when we are there. The problem is where to focus our attention when we only have two days.

Our children are 6 & 8. The main reason for Milton would be that our kids have been schooled 100% in French thus far so it would be an easier transition for them. We speak English at home though so it would mainly be spelling that they would need to learn. Since French immersion is only available non-rurally in Milton, it also makes limiting the choice of locales around Boston much easier.

I grew up on a farm in a completely rural area and that is part of why I don't think I would like Holliston. We currently live in Toronto proper, not the suburbs, and I like this lifestyle. Also, the children can't be guaranteed a spot in the Holliston program so I wouldn't want to chance moving there and then not get the kids into the French program.

We are surprised by the talk of the high housing prices in Milton as what we have seen online so far seems quite economical when compared to Toronto housing prices. Our concern would more be tying up our equity in a house that we might have difficulty selling if we chose to move.

Does anyone have an ideal of the commute time from Milton to Waltham? I used to drive 1 to 1.5 hours for what was a 20 minute drive and just want to get an idea if this would be similar or worse there.

We have also looked at the MCAS scores and see that the ones in Winchester look phenomenal compared to those for all the Milton schools. Part of me thinks that might be reason enough to pull our children out of the French Immersion program. My son can already speak quite fluently which is all he would probably need, in any case. How much weight should we be putting on the MCAS scores?

If you can provide a short list of places with good schools, a short commute to Waltham and a good place in general to live, then we can research them on the internet before our February visit.

Thanks for all the info!
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Old 01-27-2008, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
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If you're wiling to give up on the immersion program, Waltham borders a number of towns with very well-regarded school districts--Newton, Belmont, Lexington, Lincoln, and Weston. If you're looking on a map that's every town that borders Waltham except Watertown, which is nice but does not have particularly outstanding schools.

Another close town is Arlington, home of the Interational School of Boston (Ecole Internationale de Boston / International School of Boston), a local private French school, if that's a route you're interested in. Many of my francophone coworkers live in Belmont, Arlington, and Cambridge and send their kids to that school (I work for a French company).

I am currently renting in Belmont and find it is a very nice community. If you are looking for a single family home rental you may have a harder time in Belmont--most of the rentals here seem to be in duplexes. If you're looking to buy, be warned that all of those towns I've mentioned are on the pricey side (Weston is the richest town in Massachusetts, for instance). Arlington is less pricey, but it's still not the cheapest town around by any means.

I hope this gives you some ideas. Good luck!
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